By Carla Mechele – Teen influencers in I’m A Star Foundation are sharing gift boxes of inspiration to students across Duval County to support their mental health.
During the first school board meeting of 2022 Monday, the STARS presented EmpowerMe™ toolkits to Duval County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, Board members, Chief of Schools Scott Schneider and Director of Mental Health Katrina Taylor.
Middle and High School students who volunteer with nonprofit organization I’m A Star created the kits as part of their EmpowerMe™ initiative. Inner packaging of the box displays a QR code linking to motivational messages from STAR teens. The toolkits also contain a journal, motivational wristbands and pens, a “blessings jar”, a Beanie Boo and more.
STAR Student Kamryn Dease, a 10th grader at Paxon School for Advanced Studies, says “Developing the toolkits allowed me to give other kids the opportunity to have what I couldn’t give myself or what was not given to me during the pandemic, which felt amazing to do.”
According to the CDC, “From February to March 2021, suspected suicide attempt ED visits among girls 12 to 17 were 50.6% higher compared to the same period in 2019. For boys in the same age group during the same time frame, the rate was 3.7% higher versus 2019.”
Since 2010, I’m A Star Foundation provides an environment for young people ages 12-18 to create solutions to negative statistics in their community, nation and the world.
STAR Student Kennadi Larkins, a 9th grader at First Coast High School, says, “I hope that our toolkits let kids know that they are not alone and that someone is always thinking about them.”
Through their EmpowerMe™ campaign, STAR teens will soon launch a Youtube show, podcast and app that offers peer-to-peer support for mindfulness and mental health. For more information, please visit imastarfoundation.org.
ABOUT I’M A STAR FOUNDATION
I’m A Star Foundation is a volunteer program that transforms middle and high school students into the next generation of servant leaders. An acronym for “Smart, Talented and Resilient” students, the Foundation draws kids ages 12-18 from schools across Duval County. Students meet on weekends to creatively co-work on solutions to problems affecting their peers. Since its establishment in 2010, the organization has maintained a 100% graduation rate. Founder and Executive Director Betty Seabrook Burney is a former Duval Co. School Board Chairwoman. I’m A Star Foundation students have been featured in various press outlets, including The Huffington Post, ABC7Chicago and The Grio. For more information, please visit www.imastarfoundation.org.